Questions tagged [substitute-tool]

A tool exists, but you don't have it. Use this tag when searching for a substitute for a tool you don't have.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
68
votes
29answers
54k views

Is there any way to kill a fly without a flyswatter?

Fact: Flies move fast. Very fast. That's why you need something that moves even faster – like a fly swatter – to kill a fly. But what if you don't have a flyswatter handy? Then, how can you catch and ...
57
votes
3answers
6k views

What is the best way to open clamshell packaging?

What is the best way to open thick clamshell packaging, like this: I usually use scissors, but it's difficult when the plastic is particularly thick or the item is oddly shaped.
52
votes
13answers
36k views

How can I destroy sensitive documents without a paper shredder?

I have some documents that have sensitive information on them, which for obvious reasons I do not want others to get their hands on. How can I destroy these documents so that others cannot read them? ...
50
votes
11answers
54k views

How can I humidify a room without a humidifier?

It's winter, it's cold, and the heat is constantly blasting throughout my house. This is making the air very dry and uncomfortable to breathe, particularly at night when I'm trying to sleep. Are ...
36
votes
6answers
23k views

I forgot my toothpaste and it is impossible to buy in this situation, are there any substitutes?

During my travel I forgot to bring my toothpaste and I just noticed it in a time where it is impossible to buy toothpaste, are there any other things that I can use assuming that I have my toothbrush, ...
35
votes
4answers
36k views

How can I improvise a magnifying glass?

Are there any ways to improvise a magnifying glass with common things you could find at any house? (Or if not, less common things that aren't too rare to find.) For example, in case you have some ...
33
votes
10answers
12k views

How can I eat my bagel when I lack a knife to cut it?

I brought a bagel into the office for breakfast, but the only knife in the office sharp enough to cut bagels has gone missing. I tried to shove it into the toaster anyways, but it was too big. I've ...
32
votes
14answers
53k views

How can I get food unstuck from my teeth while at work?

I work in an office environment where I don't have access to toothpicks or floss. I do sometimes remember to bring some to work, and when I have them they're the obvious solution, but often I've run ...
29
votes
15answers
77k views

How to shred papers/letters without using a shredder machine

I have a lot of letters which I would like to throw away. But for security and privacy reasons I will always tear it with my hands, one by one. It tends to get tiring with the monotonous work. So I ...
26
votes
13answers
209k views

What can be used in place of a mousepad?

When I'm at a desktop computer, there are usually mousepads to use, but sometimes I want to use a mouse with my laptop. Using the mouse directly on the table usually results in a less responsive mouse....
25
votes
11answers
72k views

How can I safely trim my fingernails without a fingernail clipper?

On very rare occasions, I've found myself camping in the middle of the wilderness when I realized that I had forgotten to pack a fingernail clipper. I really hate having long fingernails. Especially ...
25
votes
8answers
68k views

Is there a way to erase pencil without a standard eraser?

There are times when I am away from home with my sketchpad and I realize I do not have my eraser with me. Are there any quick tricks to erase pencil marks on a paper without ruining the paper, or ...
25
votes
2answers
129k views

How to quickly cool off a room without a fan?

So, it may be the middle of winter in Canada, but my room is always stifling hot due to a few of things. For one, I have two computers (one of which is usually running) and those produce a lot of heat....
23
votes
12answers
10k views

I lost my closet key, how to open it?

I lost the key to a closet and I need to open it. I don't need for the lock to remain operative after the operation, so I accept "radical" solutions. The key is of this type: I have no experience of,...
22
votes
13answers
15k views

How to clean crevices of electronics without compressed air?

For cleaning keyboards and other computer components not reachable with a cloth, I generally use a can of compressed air. However, the can is empty. What else can I use that would be a general ...
21
votes
11answers
20k views

How to cut paper without scissors?

I have some paper that I need to cut down to size but do not have any scissors (not that I am very good at cutting in straight lines with scissors anyway...). I was wondering if anyone had any ...
21
votes
5answers
7k views

How can I remove the cork from a wine bottle when I don't have a corkscrew?

How can I remove the cork from a wine bottle, without it falling into the wine, when I don't have a corkscrew? I'm not talking about flanged corks, or corks that partially protrude from the bottle ...
21
votes
9answers
54k views

How to open a beverage can that has a broken tab?

I believe using force is not an option as it contains carbonated beverage.
20
votes
13answers
21k views

How can I scratch lottery tickets?

So here's the thing. I tend to keep my nails trimmed pretty short. I don't often have coins in my wallet. Those were always the top two ways to scratch off lottery tickets that I've been told. ...
20
votes
5answers
2k views

How can I fill the house with a pleasant smell at the last minute?

We have some guests coming over in an hour and I'd like to have our house to have a pleasant smell when they arrive. However, we don't have any air fresheners or anything like that on hand and I have ...
20
votes
9answers
8k views

How to keep a laptop cooled down

Sometimes my laptop heats up too much and it will shut down my computer (it also burns my legs if it's on my lap). Nothing permanent has happened yet, but I'm afraid that it will sometime. I use it in ...
20
votes
4answers
5k views

What to do if your shaver broke halfway through shaving?

I'm shaving my beard with my electric trimmer, and it breaks when I'm only halfway through*. Unfortunately, I don't have any other shaving device around -- and even if I did have a razor or a razor-...
19
votes
8answers
8k views

How to seal the plastic bags airtight after opening without using rubber band?

There are many instances where I open food packets, but am unable to close it airtight after taking out some content. Food packets means, packet of noodles, biscuits, snacks, chips, etc. This ...
19
votes
10answers
5k views

How can I clear my shower drain without drain cleaner?

While showering I notice that the drain starts to clog and water start to accumulate, but yet its not totally clogged. What can I do to prevent further clogging, while still being able to continue my ...
18
votes
3answers
11k views

How do I open a can without a can opener?

Sometimes I'm camping and my food is in a can but I am without a can opener. How do I neatly open the can? Bashing it with a rock is futile.
18
votes
6answers
213k views

How to light a candle without a lighter or a match

There are times when I need to light a candle, but I don't have a working lighter and I am out of matches. I need to create a makeshift match (or at least something to produce fire) so I can light the ...
17
votes
8answers
116k views

Adding a belt hole without a leather punch

I don't want to invest in a leather hole punch, so how could I add an extra hole (or some other solution)?
17
votes
4answers
42k views

I need to attach two+ pieces of paper without staples, glue, tape, or the like

I have recently, in more than one circumstance, had to attach two or more pieces of paper together when the typical resources to do so were lacking. I have tried: Folding in the corners Folding in ...
16
votes
4answers
10k views

How do I open a bottle without a bottle opener?

There are times, when out camping, that a beverage is trapped in a capped bottle and I don't have an opener. How do I open the bottle, preferably with some item I might have in my pockets?
16
votes
6answers
961 views

What office equipment can I use to safely observe a solar eclipse?

As looking at the sun is Not A Good Idea™. A common hack is to use a colander to project many instances of the eclipsing sun onto a surface. The upcoming solar eclipse in Europe will be taking place ...
15
votes
9answers
179k views

Make coffee with no coffee filters?

I woke up this morning to no filters for our coffee maker. We use standard sized basket type filters: Any thoughts on what could be used to replace the filter? I could resort to seeping the loose ...
15
votes
7answers
14k views

Smell bad but no deodorant

If I ever smell bad because of a physical activity or just in general, and I have no deodorant available, what could I do to reduce or perhaps even eliminate the smell? I know people most likely want ...
14
votes
9answers
1k views

How to find my way without a compass?

We went for a tracking camp a week ago. While collecting wood for a fire, I discovered that I was lost. My mobile was not receiving a signal and I felt hopeless. If I could only only have found the ...
14
votes
4answers
8k views

How to shoot a video underwater using your smart phone?

I have iPhone, but solution probably can apply to all smart phones. I know that I can buy a waterproof bag/pouch or special underwater cameras, but who remember it to buy it before going to the trip? ...
14
votes
3answers
9k views

How to brush my teeth without using a Toothbrush or using floss

I usually brush my teeth with a regular(non-electronic) toothbrush and floss with regular floss, but sometimes I don't have a access to a toothbrush or floss. Because of this I either have to go ...
14
votes
4answers
4k views

Plucking a chicken without a machine

Like my username implies, I'm a shochet (though I'm still in training), and I kill chickens. One problem I have is getting the feathers off the chicken once they're dead. I know that I could buy or ...
13
votes
11answers
7k views

Mixing coffee without a spoon

I often encounter a situation where I have coffee, hot water, sugar, and Styrofoam cups, but no spoon. How do I effectively mix the ingredients?
13
votes
9answers
10k views

What can I punch?

I'd like to punch something like this to destress: I don't have one though. What general household items can I put together to allow me to do the same? Moderator note: "Mind hacks" are off-topic ...
13
votes
5answers
3k views

How can I sharpen pencils without a dedicated sharpener?

There have been times when I was without a sharpener, and a pencil I was using became dull. I tried using my knife, but that seems to break the point. Am I doing it wrong, or is there a better way to ...
13
votes
5answers
160k views

What can I use in place of an allen wrench?

I misplaced my allen wrench set. I'm not going to buy a new one, because I haven't given up hope on finding the old one. In the meantime, what can I use as an allen wrench substitute? I tried using ...
13
votes
4answers
125k views

How to remove lint from a shirt without a lint brush?

I am at the office right now and thanks to a new cotton jacket I wore on the way here, my shirt is covered in lint/fluffs. Obviously this looks terrible and I would like to avoid making a bad/unclean ...
12
votes
18answers
26k views

How can I fix a clogged toilet without calling a plumber?

We've all been there: you're using the toilets, flush the water, and it's still there. Flush again, to no avail. It's utterly clogged. When at home I can simply call a plumber, but: It costs money ...
12
votes
4answers
100k views

How to restore Sticker's stickiness?

I have some old stickers from my collection that are almost fallen off of their backing paper. I was wondering if there's a decent way to restore them and they would still be stickers (would be able ...
11
votes
8answers
16k views

How can I add oil to a car without a funnel?

Say the oil light turns on in my car, so I check the dipstick and it's low. I have an extra quart in the trunk... ...but I don't have a funnel to pour the oil through. I once tried pouring straight ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

How to clean the inside of a desktop computer without a vacuum

Say I open a desktop computer case and it's very dusty -- not an uncommon situation. However, Oh no! I forgot my vacuum! What else can I use to thoroughly clean the inside of the computer? I ...
11
votes
6answers
52k views

How to undo a stubborn knot without using fingers

I don't really have nails because I bite my fingers so it's quite difficult for me to undo some knots. What is an easy way to untie knots when fingers just can't do the job? Referring to knots in ...
11
votes
4answers
504 views

If I break a window, how can I keep out cold air while I buy another?

It doesn't happen often, but occasionally one of the old windows in my house breaks, and I have to go and buy a replacement. How do I keep the winter air out (better than hanging a towel by the ...
11
votes
3answers
11k views

How to tell if surface is level

I'm renting a room and the floor is not very even. I plan on wedging some cardboard/cloth/felt sticky pads beneath some surfaces (such as my chair and bed). The first step is to test in which ...
11
votes
6answers
23k views

How to clean eyeglasses if no cleaning cloth or cleaning spray is available?

I usually do not carry a cleaning cloth or a bottle of cleaner with me to clean my eyeglasses*. If my eyeglasses get very dirty and I don't have a cleaning kit with me, I would clean them with soap ...
11
votes
4answers
12k views

What is a good makeshift bookend?

Whenever I put books on a bookshelf, if the don't fill up the entire shelf, they fall over. I don't have a bookend, and I am lazy and like easy methods. How can I prevent the books from falling over? ...